Cypriot Envoy Says Any Maritime Border Dispute With Lebanon ‘Easily’ Resolved

A Cypriot delegation in Lebanon on Friday for talks on maritime border delineation between the two countries said any disputes during that process could be easily resolved.

“There is no problem between Lebanon and Cyprus that cannot be resolved easily,” said Cypriot special envoy Tasos Tzionis, after meeting with outgoing Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

Lebanon and Cyprus reached a maritime border agreement in 2007, but it was never ratified by Lebanon’s parliament and therefore never went into force.

Cyprus delineated its maritime exclusive economic zone vis-a-vis Israel in 2010. Lebanon and Israel officially delineated their contested sea boundary Thursday, following years of U.S.-mediated indirect talks.

Aoun said the next step following that achievement would be defining Lebanon’s maritime boundaries with northern neighbor Syria and resuming talks with Cyprus to the west.

A planned visit this week to Damascus by a top Lebanese delegation was indefinitely postponed after the Syrian government told Beirut it was “not the right time.”

Lebanon’s deputy speaker of parliament and border negotiator Elias Bou Saab said Friday said Syria was still the priority.

“We will not delineate with Cyprus until we communicate with Syria,” Bou Saab told reporters at the presidential palace.

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